V Festival 2011 review - Staffordshire

'It remains one of the biggest festivals and best'

Photographer:Shirlaine Forrest

stephanie davis - 23 August 2011

Click to see the best V Festival 2011 photos.

It may lean a little on the mainstream, but V Festival 2011 is evidence that popular music has never been so diverse. Staffordshire’s Weston Park shapes up with indie, rap, drum n bass, grime and pop, lots and lots of pop. And to the testament of its band selection, another sold out V not only remains one of the biggest festivals in the UK but also one of the best.

“Sold out” are the sweetest chimes organisers will hear over the weekend, and there probably wasn’t any Asda bum slapping when they emptied £2 million from their purses for Eminem (10/10), but his conquering headline show means they won’t be scuttling around looking for the receipt either.

It’s the razzle dazzle of a strutting Rihanna on ‘Love The Way You Lie’ that sits tidiest with the head bobbers but the real emotion, from the rapper at least, is apparent on ‘Purple Pills’ as he remembers fallen friends. Although confident throughout, Eminem even seems humbled by the crowd size as classic tracks ‘Stan’ and ‘My Name Is’ cause bedlam.

In the indie corner, Arctic Monkeys (8/10) leave their fans in awe with a lengthy headline showing that rouses huge cheers for ‘Florescent Adolescent’ before darkening into the epic intensity of ‘If You Were There, Beware’. A beautiful ‘505’ with help from the man they can’t shake off, Miles Kane, and a tangle of ‘Suck It And See’ moments attest that guitar music ain’t dead yet.

On the 4 Music stage, Tinie-bit-too-much-tipple-beforehand-Tempah (8.5/10) looks as if he might ‘Pass Out’ himself as he smiles at the moshing rump in front of him, bouncing along and downing a shot of Jack Daniels. Producer Labrinth (5/10) however, has seemingly given all his best tracks away to Tinie and Ms Dyanmite, while Wiz Khalifa (6/10) is in his own little world, chuckling away and banging on about marijuana.

Bruno Mars (8.5/10) is much more uplifting. Thousands of females may grin and sing to the soppiness of pop ballads ‘Just The Way Your Are’ and ‘Marry You’, but it’s the upbeat moments, jazzy band and synchronised steps of the saxophone players that make this a superb spectacle.

One girl, anti-bullying campaign Jessie J (9/10) doesn’t let a broken leg get in the way of her performance, in fact the soulful singer parades the vocal abilities of the next Whitney Houston. “Anyone not get the results they wanted?” she smiles, “when I got my GCSEs they spelt something like: ‘F-F-F-O-U’,” before playing a fittingly ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ for those that can relate.

In the Arena Tent, Big Audio Dynamite (7/10) play to a smaller crowd of enthused 80s fans showing impressive punk rock meets reggae bass skills, while on her own terms, Rihanna (9/10) gives a star-studded performance with impressive dance routines, a rock chick outfit and ballads that get the crowd in party mode - headline slots await, surely?


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